Saturday, September 22, 2007

Libraries as 3rd Places- learn from China!

As we're hearing at various conferences lately, public libraries as third places (after work and home) is the new paradigm for service, but it seems someone has beaten us to it - with a for-profit library in China! "The Bookworm Chengdu comprises a library of 5000 (and growing) books in English, European Languages and Chinese, a full European restaurant , and a fully stocked bar with barmen trained in the arts of superlative coffee and cocktail making." Wow! AND a full program of poetry and book readings, scrabble competitions, free wireless Internet access, children's story times, as well as jazz and wine nights! How I wish I had one of THOSE libraries in MY neighbourhood! And I'm sure if I was a westerner working for any length of time in China, I wouldn't mind paying a small fee to borrow English language books, even if the collection was a little haphazard (I gather, mainly the result of Westerners donating stuff when they are leaving). How I came to hear about this is that my nephew, after several years of teaching English and working in hotels in various places in China, has just been offered a job there. I really encourage you to check out the web site - despite it being developed as a little cultural sanctuary for westerners working in China, I really think it has a lot of ideas to offer for our own (free) libraries, if we are serious about becoming this third space...third space as cultural sanctuary ...I'm rather jealous actually...


  • you always seem to be a little jealous of someone elses good ideas. are you a librarian that is just looking to make a name for youself or to be "known" for something? I became a librarian to help people and to encourage people to read, learn and to share my ability in information discovery; it seems that you became one just to leave your mark. Otherwise, some good reading here but the jealousy factor is a bit off putting. sorry.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:03 PM  

  • Point taken! Although I don't blog about it so much, I also highly value my real public librarian job of helping people find stuff on a day to day basis. I see finding, synthesizing and implementing oters' good ideas as a way of enhancing that part of the job, certainly not a substitute for it!

    By Blogger Deb, at 4:45 PM  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:16 AM  

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